The global fascination over the internet is far from over, but our tastes are certainly beginning to mature.
After the first decade of consumer internet services, business websites were starting to become overwhelmingly “deluxe.” Every site out there seemed to be designed as if it needed to compete with the entire internet all at once – even focusing on features that were completely unrelated to their core business.
The result was a technical marvel of widespread achievement, and a complete eyesore. Eventually, businesses realized that their customers couldn’t find the core products and services, due to a jumble of value-adds crowding out the core message.
Enter the era of simple website design, known today by many as the “Web 2.0.”
What are the principles of simple website design? That’s what this article aims to expose.
Of all the elements of a website’s design, there’s no one thing that benefits more from simplicity, than the navigation scheme. The trouble with creating a simple design for website navigation, is making it possible to grow your website’s scale, without losing that simplicity.
The answer: Sub-navigation.
For a time, this was rejected by web designers because it added an extra click. Whenever sub-navigation schemes were discussed, the common response was one of defiance – surely, there’s some techno-widget that can save space without adding a click!
Well, there are several ways, and some of them are widely accepted and loved today, but it’s near-impossible to create a simple, collapsible, globally-compatible method of collapsing menus.
Today, now that the fetish for using the highest-tech solution to every problem is beginning to fade, designers are realizing that a simpler web design is preferable to the average user – even if it means an extra click.
Sub-navigation means you click once to reach a section, then click again on a new menu which only appears in that section. This allow designers to maintain consistency and simplicity, two things that are highly valued by web surfers.
The Necessary Copy
Another thing designers are learning about creating simpler web designs is that not every website has the same copy needs. So, it follows, not every site needs to be designed with big spaces for written text, and, not every chunk of written text needs to be 500 or more words in length.
Why is this important? When a visitor sees text on the page that hosts what they came to your site to find, they feel like they should read it. The problem with that, arises when a website has unnecessary text that exists only to fill a layout – and the visitor’s brain – and makes little other contribution.
To keep your website design as simple as possible, think ahead about how much text is really going to be necessary for each layout – and then only leave enough space for that amount of copy.
Doing More With Simple Website Design
Indeed, today’s web designers, and web visitors, are very attracted to sites that do more with less. In a related article, “How to Win Website Design Awards,” we continue the discussion of simple website design and how the right use of economy brings the web’s highest accolades for the most lightweight of efforts.